(Sun-Sentinel) A self-styled “Advocacy Group” of members of First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale is about to find out how difficult it is to wrest control of a pulpit from its recognized leaders.
The church was roiled by a divisive decision earlier this year to permanently cancel its signature event, the spectacular Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant, which sold thousands of tickets each year. The decision exposed deeper divisions that have some members trying to stage a coup.
A group of more than 150 defiant members met after services a week ago and fired head pastor James Welch, the nine-member board of trustees, and half the church’s deacons — hours after listening to a sermon on congregational unity. At least, that’s what they say they did. Welch and the church’s established leadership see it differently.
“They called an unofficial business meeting. It was off-site and private,” Welch said in a video message emailed to the congregation. “I need you to know that none of the decisions they made at that meeting have standing in our church.”
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Editor’s Note. This article was written by RAFAEL OLMEDA and published at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Title changed by Protestia.
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